Facing the 'Generational Mismatch'

Two age groups are rapidly growing in the U.S.: baby boomers and minors under 18. The difference is that one group is primarily white, while the other is overwhelmingly not.
July 26, 2010, 10am PDT | Nate Berg
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The political desires and social needs of these two separate groups could begin to clash, according to demographers.

"These twin developments are creating what could be called a generational mismatch, or a "cultural generation gap" as Frey labels it. A contrast in needs, attitudes, and priorities is arising between a heavily (and soon majority) nonwhite population of young people and an overwhelmingly white cohort of older people. Like tectonic plates, these slow-moving but irreversible forces may generate enormous turbulence as they grind against each other in the years ahead.

Already, some observers see the tension between the older white and younger nonwhite populations in disputes as varied as Arizona's controversial immigration law and a California lawsuit that successfully blocked teacher layoffs this year at predominantly minority schools. The 2008 election presented another angle on this dynamic, with young people (especially minorities) strongly preferring Democrat Barack Obama, and seniors (especially whites) breaking solidly for Republican John McCain."

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Published on Saturday, July 24, 2010 in National Journal
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